OAs perform miracle escape
Division Two Old Albanian 191-10 (50.4) Ampthill Town 131-10 (44) OLD Albanians performed a miracle escape from relegation as the drama went down to the last day once again at Woollams. The OA First XI have gone into the final match of the season
Old Albanian 191-10 (50.4) Ampthill Town 131-10 (44)
OLD Albanians performed a miracle escape from relegation as the drama went down to the last day once again at Woollams.
The OA First XI have gone into the final match of the season with a possibility of being relegated three times in the last four years. They have survived on each occasion, although the escape last Saturday was more memorable and dramatic than most.
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The home side entertained Ampthill Town at Woollams, and began the day five points behind Rickmansworth, who were the other side playing to avoid the final relegation place from Division Two.
Confirmation that their rivals' game had been cancelled, thus securing Ricky 10 points, came through in the early afternoon. Thus OAs set out to play both their opponents and the weather in order to secure the 16 points required to retain their division two status in the Herts League.
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Skipper Ravi Vijh lost the toss and the home side were inserted on a wet wicket in difficult conditions.
The openers battled it out, Alf Rehman in particular mixing dogged resistance with some good strokes in scoring 31. Despite a couple of rain breaks the OA innings progressed, with overseas star Kwesi Roy working his way to a diligent 40. However at 111-6 with the weather threatening the OAs were looking anything but safe.
The lower order then staged a rally, with Tom Preest scoring 38 well supported by some big hitting from Ben Farrar. This enabled the home side to score 191 all out in 51 overs.
Vijh led his team onto the field knowing that eight wickets would be enough. His opening bowlers responded and Roy proved to be a particularly difficult proposition in the conditions, picking up two early wickets and bowling six maidens from 10 overs. He was ably supported by partner Matt Corran, who bowled as well as he has all season in returning figures of 2-15 from nine overs. Corran's second wicket came courtesy of an amazing slip catch by Roy. There was some justice in this as earlier the young all rounder's promising innings of 24 has been cut short by an equally improbable take in the slips.
The threat of rain was constant and as the darkness closed in Vijh was forced to turn to his slower bowlers to keep the players on the field. Preest and Jon Smithers then shared a wicket a piece to move OAs tantalisingly close to their target.
Preest secured the seventh wicket via an excellent stumping from Vijh before Smithers delivered the final blow. One delivery was smashed through the off side only for Farrar to hold an astonishing catch at short cover to see Ampthill eight down and the celebrations begin.
Tariq Hassan then took two late wickets as the match was won with Town all out for 131. An excellent contest was watched by a good crowd and much credit should also go to the Woollams ground staff for facilitating play in the conditions.